• Engineer on the right?

  • General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.
General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.

Moderator: Robert Paniagua

  by BR&P
Regarding mention above of left-hand steamers, July 1965 RAILROAD magazine has a letter from a reader saying C&EI 803, 808, and 811 (all 0-8-0) were converted to left-hand controls in January 1915. This was for use at Joppa Ill where a curve and a grade led to a dock at the river. To put the engineer on the inside of the curve, the engineer was moved to the opposite side.

This still is not the one I was thinking of but it does show occasional left-hand location of the engineer.

  by scharnhorst
BR&P wrote:Noel, I don't doubt that most C&NW steamers were traditional. However I seem to recall reading about some of their engines - or maybe Burlington's?? - with the engineer on the left - I think it was in one of the old RAILROAD magazines from the 40's, possibly the recollections of some old timer from 1900 or so. Does that sound familiar to anyone?

The CNW was known for running "left-hand main" on double track mainlines. In other words, traffic was routed by default to the track on the left rather than the track on the right. In the United States, most railroads followed the "right-hand main" operating practice, while "left-hand main" running was more common in countries where automobile traffic drove on the left as well. According to a display in the Lake Forest station, the reason for this was a combination of chance and inertia. When originally built as single-line trackage, the C&NW arbitrarily placed its stations on the left-hand side of the tracks (when headed inbound toward Chicago). Later, when a second track was added, it was placed on the side away from the stations so as not to force them to relocate. Since most passengers waiting at the stations were headed toward Chicago, the inbound track remained the one closest to the station platforms. The expense of reconfiguring signals and switches has prevented a conversion to right-hand operation ever since.

The railroad also purchased a great deal of its equipment second-hand. CNW shop forces economized wherever possible, earning the railroad the nickname "Cheap and Nothing Wasted."

more infor on this railroad can be found here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_an ... rn_Railway

I beleve that most Wstern European countrys the engineer sits on the right side of the cab with the exception of a few countrys. In Eastern Europe the engineer sits on the right side of the cab with an assistant standing to his/her left threw out most of the trip there job they most ofton served as brakemen/Conductor/ and engineer when need be.

  by Robert Paniagua
I recall a good number of years ago when the subway was opened in
Toronto the cars were built in England and they had the operating cab on
the left in every car. Later cars were built in Canada and these cars had
the operating cab on the right.

I know, I remember those Gloucester units myself too, their motorperson's cabs were on the left, and that seemed strange. They were also in service until recently (1990 was their last revenue run). But then the newer un its (M1s to the present, thankfully have them on the right, which I'd rather be, leave the left side for the fireman or motorinstructor.

And that photo in DutchRailnut's post is the TGV in France which is right in the middle, I've seen YouTube movie clips filmed in those cabs of the TGV.